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Too much freedom of choice?

   
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyber_Goddess View Post
So basically my lack of an English lesson for almost 8 years has screwed me over in terms of communicating my meaning to you.

Remind me to sign up for that english elective this semester at college. Apparently I need it.
Either way. If you ever do run a freeform game give me a PM. I might be interested.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PPQ_Purple View Post
Either way. If you ever do run a freeform game give me a PM. I might be interested.
The internet is weird. We leave on good terms after 4 posts, when we were ripping each other's throats out 5 minutes ago.

Meh. I'm just glad we're not arguing anymore. I'll try to be more clear in my posting in the future.

"Going to Steam", what does that mean?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mindcrime View Post
"Going to Steam", what does that mean?
Steam is a digital distribution platform for selling and downloading videogames.

Basically "If you just want a game, you could probably get a better game from going on there, and purchasing a professionally made one, than playing in one of Cyber_Goddess's stories."

Oh, I see. I'd just never heard that before.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mindcrime View Post
Oh, I see. I'd just never heard that before.
It's probably not a common term.

Either way, my point is, my writing is not that great, at least not compared to a well made RPG by a professional. Hence if you want just a game with a pre-set plot and maybe 4-6 endings, go on Steam and buy something else rather than applying to my (Cyber_Goddess's) stuff. I promise you'll get a better story, better action, and more likable characters assuming you pick up one of the good ones.

But the thing is, in a videogame, all of your actions are pre-programmed. You can't alter the plot line or dialog outside of hacking or modding the game which at that point I'd argue you're no longer a player but now a DM. There are dozens of planets in Star Wars, but if you boot up Knights of the Old Republic 1, you're only allowed to visit the planets that the game lets you visit, and you're only given 2-3 options in most side quests when it comes to finishing the quests. The only way to break the railroad is to either mod the game, or stop playing.

Tabletop gaming is unique in that the game can be made as you experience it. Unless your DM has literally planned for everything you could possibly do, or has written a plot so railroaded that literally nothing you can do can throw the plot off, the DM is going to have to, at least on some minor level alter the game based on your decisions.

Seriously, go play "The Stanley Parable", it covers a lot of this kind of stuff in sweet satire.

I totally agree with you. I don't consider my writing that great either, though I think I have something to contribute as a DM. I don't have a ton of time, so I do use published modules, but I try to make the game as open as possible for the players to do what they want to do.

I get rather bored with video games as they do tend to become monotonous after a while. That's why I'm here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KillerK View Post
So, most people are usually against "railroading," or blatantly forcing certain decisions or paths of actions on the party. I'm as much against railroading as everyone else.
Personally, I feel like this isn't as bad as a problem as everyone makes it out to be. Please don't misunderstand, I'm not saying all games should be hard railroads, just that they aren't inherently bad things. Certain moments in the plot can call for it. For the sake of dramatic narration or storytelling, you might have the heroes run out of the burning building when one of them might prefer to stay and try to loot the place while they still had a chance. I've talked it over with some of my players from an old game I ran, and the consensus re reached was that a game needs a strong backbone. Usually this takes place as a bit of a railroad-y first part of the game to get the characters invested in the story, to ensure they don't sod off halfway through to open a tavern or something.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KillerK View Post
But can there also be the opposite problem: Too much freedom of choice, and/or too many choices to choose from, with perhaps too little DM direction?
Yes. Very bad thing. Once again, please don't misunderstand. Freedom of choice is a great thing, and I wouldn't play tabletops if they weren't as free as they are. In video games, you have the option of "buy arrows" or "don't buy arrows" from the local merchant. You don't have the option to, say, take his arrows and jab them into is ears, tie him up like a pinata, and then set him on fire. Not that you'll want to do that, but having the option is what is important here. This freedom is what separates tabletops from videogames, and that's what we all love about them. However, that being said, there is always risk. To quote a internet-reviewer: "If you give them guns, they will shoot old ladies. If you give them cars, they will run over old ladies. If you give them aircraft, they will ascend to the highest possible height and hurl themselves out onto an old lady." Now unless the point is to keep score of those actions, like in Saints Row 2(I stole that quote from the 2:00 minute mark if you're curious), it is obviously going to be detrimental to the game.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KillerK View Post
Is there a line between letting/expecting the PCs to make their own decisions about how to proceed and what to do and not giving them enough hints/directions?
The line, at least in my opinion, is between "sandbox game" and "the GM doesn't even need to be here game." In the case of a sandbox game, there should still be direction. To quote the same internet reviewer: "That's kind of me point, though: why's it up to me to figure out how I'm going to have a good time with this? That's what I paid Bethesda for."(This Fallout 4 video if you're curious.) Without that distinction, we have a game where the GM doesn't need to be there. If the players are just making it up as thy go along without a GM to guide them, it might as well be one of those Freeform games like Name that Movie or Post the Next Number. Even in games I've advertised as sandbox, I've prepared a few plot lines for the players to pick up and deal with at their leisure. Heck, I prepared just over a dozen for my ongoing Sith game.

Cyber was talking about her Collaborative Writing style earlier. Personally, I think that's a decent way to do it. I do it with my games. I'll always make sure to post an interest thread to get an idea of what potential players might want or hope for in this type of game. That being said, I always make sure that I have prepared plans ahead of time. If the players are actors, it isn't fair to make them fill the role of writers and directors.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KillerK View Post
I feel like I give out plenty of clues (sometimes obvious ones, like finding notes or maps on fallen enemies etc.) but I still find parties sometimes stalling when it's time to make decisions about where to go next or what clue to pursue. I've gotten into the habit of kind of OOC recapping the clues and hints they have but I still don't ever say "you really should pursue X line of action now."
Unfortunately, that can't always be avoided. I think, when time isn't a factor, players should be allowed to pursue their own agendas of their own accord. However, if time is important, it should be stressed. If an evil Lich King is plotting to take over the world and the players are learning the macarena instead, have their dance lessons interrupted by a small skeleton team to remind them of what's important. Explain that they are all dressed in clothing styles common a village two miles over or something. Otherwise you might end up with this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AsenRG View Post
So it's the GM's story now, and players trying to have input should not be rewarded, got that.
Well, have fun!

Note to self: Never play in a Tsunami1768's story.
I think his underlying point is entirely a fair one, actually, which is ultimately that it's about expectations. If you make it very clear that a game is about, say, hunting down the Whatsit and retrieving it from the evil Evil Giants, and a player rocks up with a character who has no interest in the Whatsit, would rather join forces with the Evil Giants, but really just wants to go off and become a chef - they've pitched the wrong character for your game. Is it "railroading" to say, no, go get the Whatsit, damnit? Maybe. Probably what you should do as a DM is say, sure, your character becomes a chef and features in this story no more. Great. But the point is that if a game is going to be about anything in particular of the DM's choosing, and not entirely about only the characters themselves, it's not really unfair for the DM to expect that to remain at least in some vague sense the topic, even if the exact sequence of events isn't orchestrated and dictated.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyber_Goddess View Post
3. And yet every time I try to encourage co-operative storytelling where everyone can pitch in, people throw a fit and call me a lazy bad DM!
The problem, I think, is that being a (good) DM is hard. Like, really hard. I sure as hell haven't hit the nail on the head, for one. There's a balance to be had with all these things - the ideal DM might offer the players the ability to provide input to the world and the story, yet is always there to do the hard work if none of them are interested, or to fill in the gaps.

I think it's easy to fall into one extreme or the other. A "sandbox" game does not necessarily mean that the DM provides zero plot; conversely, a non-sandbox game does not have to be entirely railroaded. It's not even just a sliding scale, you can have different kinds of freedom and different amounts of plot in different ways - you can have, for example, a completely sandbox game driven entirely by the player's motivations, or a game crammed full of hooks and plots for the player to choose from but where they are not required to pursue any of them. Both are sandboxes, but one is player-driven, the other may as well be a railroaded adventure on a very small scale, except that it has just as much freedom as the other since that player can cut loose and pursue a completely different adventure at any time. The converse is true as well - you can have a fairly linear storyline but make still provide some choice, perhaps create the illusion of choice, or you can literally force the story at pretty much every turn.

What's challenging is to find a balance that's right for your players, especially given that different people's perfect games would be at different places in that space of possible games.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AsenRG View Post
So it's the GM's story now, and players trying to have input should not be rewarded, got that.
Well, have fun!

Note to self: Never play in a Tsunami1768's story.
lol, yeah it was a blunt and to the point statement, but was mainly to get the idea put out in as few words as possible.

side quests and what not are fine and keeps interest level high, but if their not going to and I will quote myself

Quote:
if the players side track "for to long, or try to do their own thing" then their not really experiencing your game and shouldn't be rewarded.
if their not playing your game then why are they there, if you don't mind that they do whatever they want then your probably in the wrong conversation thread to begin with.







 

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